So What The Heck is The Difference Between Parent Coaches and Family Therapists

While both seek a better outcome of your family relationships and dynamics, Parent Coaching has several advantages

Parenting can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life, but it can also be one of the most challenging. When a child is struggling with problem behaviors, it can be difficult for parents to know where to turn for help. While both parent coaching and family therapy aim to help families address their child's behavior, parent coaching has several advantages that make it the favored choice for many families.

See the chart below to see a side by side comparison.

Parent Coaching

Family Therapy

Views parents as the experts on their own children and typically involves a one-on-one relationship between the coach and the parent.


Involves sessions with the entire family, as well as individual sessions with children without parents.

Works with parents to discover their values and incorporate them into developmentally appropriate discipline strategies to reduce misbehavior.


Helps families identify and change generations-long negative patterns of interaction and communication that may be contributing to the child's behavior.

Focuses on providing evidence-based behavior management to parents to solve specific misbehaviors in their child typically within 6 weeks.


Takes a more comprehensive approach, working to identify and address underlying issues within the family system including providing diagnoses for family members.

Typically involves a short-term, goal-oriented approach based on each family’s unique goals.

Typically involves a longer-term, process-oriented approach.

Focuses primarily on the relationship between the parent and child in a way that protects the trust between parent and child.


Considers the broader context of the family and how each member's experiences and behaviors impact the whole.

Teaches life-long, practical strategies and techniques so parents intuitively know how to reinforce positive behavior, set clear boundaries, and appropriately hold children accountable.


Uses a variety of therapeutic techniques to address the emotional and psychological dynamics within the family,

May use assessments and evaluations to identify parenting problems and the best solutions for the individual children as well as they family as a whole.


Uses assessments and evaluations to gain a comprehensive understanding of the family dynamics and individual needs of each family member.

May be more cost-effective than family therapy as the typical relationship is less than 6 months and since the techniques provided can be applied as the children grow.

May be more expensive than parent coaching, but some therapists may accept insurance to help pay for therapy services.

Overall, parent coaching and family therapy are two different approaches to addressing family problems and misbehaviors in children. While parent coaching respects the parents as the true experts on their children and focuses on providing practical strategies and techniques for managing behavior, family therapy takes a more comprehensive approach, working to identify and address underlying issues within the family system. Ultimately, the choice between parent coaching and family therapy will depend on the specific needs and goals of the family.